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It helps if we call them the less fortunate, rather than the long-term jobless. Calling them less fortunate means they do have some good luck — they just don’t have as much as we do.
The beginning of the New Year is a time of optimism, so it’s a drag to know that 1.3 million of our fellow Americans — those who have been looking for a job for 27 weeks or more — will no longer get unemployment relief. Families dependent on assistance will lose an average of $1,166 a month. According to the Labor Department, that means that in California some 214,000 unemployed workers will cease getting their payments, and by June that number will more than double. And on the other side of the country, 127,000 New Yorkers will be cut from the rolls.
On the surface, it looks grim. Fortunately, there’s a brighter way to look at this. It comes from the Cato Institute.
The Institute says this about itself: “The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues.” You can see right off that it’s a worthy enterprise. Of course, every think tank does independent, nonpartisan research. We chose the Cato Institute because it’s a very conservative think tank and they have a much happier way of looking at the end of unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed. Makes us feel better.
When you read the research provided by the Cato Institute you learn that “extended unemployment benefits raise the duration and rate of unemployment,” especially if those are “generous” benefits. You probably never thought of it that way. In fact, says the Cato Institute, “bribing people to stay on the dole for an extra 53-73 weeks leaves them with less money to spend, not more. It also looks bad on resumes, and may cause lasting damage to future job prospects.” Wow! You probably never thought of your government actually bribing unemployed workers to not get jobs
All right now! Looked at this way, we can all feel better — much, much better! — that Congress has not extended unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed.